BERLIN – One of Worcester County’s most influential and prominent citizens turned 100 years old last month.
Katie Jenkins, a long-time teacher in the local school system, marked the occasion quietly with family and friends. Although she has experienced health issues in recent years limiting her mobility, Jenkins’ contributions to the community are immense and her reputation as a generous and caring woman with a sharp sense of humor endures today.
After graduating from Salisbury State College in its first graduating class in 1927, she began a long career as a teacher. She took a brief hiatus from teaching to raise her children, Buddy and Dorothy, but later returned to the classroom where her reputation as a disciplinarian was firmly established, and her students respected her for it and frequently visited with her years later to express their appreciation.
Making it to one’s 100th birthday is a huge accomplishment, one that garnered the attention of the White House and the County Commissioners.
Jenkins was honored in a letter on official White House stationary and signed by President Bush and Laura Bush.
"Happy 100th birthday! We are pleased to add our congratulations to your celebration," the letter read. "You have led a remarkable life and your experiences have contributed to the strength of our Nation. We join your family and friends in wishing you all the best on your special day."
The County Commissioners also sent their congratulations to Jenkins, recognizing her as "a dedicated teacher, business woman, founding member of the Worcester County Humane Society and friend to the community whose contributions have forever impacted Worcester County and the lives of its residents …"
The County Commissioners’ recognition continues, "Mrs. Jenkins, devoted wife of Cullen, loving mother of Dorothy Ann and Charles, and caring grandmother and great grandmother, has helped shape the future of Ocean City and Worcester County through her entrepreneurial spirit and her volunteer efforts. Her sphere of influence reaches far beyond her own days in the classroom as former pupils – inspired and encouraged through her efforts – return each year to thank her for investing in their lives."